Attention Deficit Disorder falls under the umbrella of ADHA, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Not everyone with ADD has all the symptoms of ADHA. It is defined as, "...a biological, brain based condition that is characterized by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive or compulsive behaviors". For some people, the condition manifests as a child and follows them into adulthood. For me, it was present as a child but being a child in school in the early 80's, no one really had any idea what it was or that it was any kind of a disorder at all. It was not until well into my adulthood that I started learning about the complexities of mental health as they relate to myself, and discovered that there are a lot of things for which I suffered, and had no idea it had a clinical origin.
As a child early on in school, I would excel in studies that interested me, absorbing information like a sponge to the point that a few elementary teachers actually accelerated me within the class and put me in two seperate gifted programs. Meanwhile, studies that held no interest for me caused me to fall into deep periods of distraction and inattention, and in later elementary grades, my performance slipped considerably. I began getting poor grades and was being viewed as simply "lazy". Lazy is something you can make the conscious decision not to be. A mental disorder hangs in the back of your head playing with you and impacting your life, and you have no idea how to turn it off.
As an adult, it is less prevalent than it was when I was in school. There are times when it is very controlled, due in part to my ability to focus. Simple tasks like singing, writing, knitting, and even meditation have helped me to direct my thoughts. Then there are times when I have a deadline and something of relative importance to get done at work, and I can't gather my thoughts for the life of me to get it done. It's a tug of war with my brain. Sometimes, my brain wins.
OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has always been this weird little demon that follows me around. It's mostly tied into my anxiety disorder, and has been a blessing as much as a curse. Defined as, "...an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, sensations, ideas, or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions)". It's usually associated with people who count tiles on the sidewalk, compulsively wash their hands, or people who keep an obsessively clean home or office. In reality for some like me, it's merely one in many symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
I don't have the severe compulsions that some with severe OCD suffer from. There are some who find themselves trapped in their homes by their compulsions. For me, it's more of a symptom that creates odd behavior. It's making sure that lights are either on or off at particular times. It's having to stand a certain way when performing a specific task. It's having to wear make-up when I leave the house. The fact that I feel like I can't talk about this with anyone because that would somehow impact everything on it's own. Those are really the simple manifestations. Then of course, there are the weird ones.
There are an overabundance of almost empty shampoo bottles in my shower. I can't throw them away until all the shampoo is gone. I usually end up beginning a new bottle however, so there is just a shampoo bottle graveyard on the back ledge. I don't know why this is. Only that when I look at those bottles and think of throwing them away, something clicks and overrules that decision. I can't throw them away. There is some sort of universal magic in the remaining fluid in those bottles that somehow ties into my life and how it is ruled by the universe and throwing them away and wasting any of that product will surely impact my present situation somehow...and it might just maybe possibly be negative. Seriously, this is the thought process that happens in a fraction of a second, and then it's gone. Do you know what's not gone? The shampoo bottles at the back of my shower.
In the wonderful world of an anxiety disorder like mine, it's a fine line between goods and bads. Sometimes when there is an attack brewing, I can use it to my advantage. The OCD forces me at times to focus obsessively on one thing...be it cleaning the kitchen, or organizing the closet, or cleaning my son's room. That focus wards off the attack, and let's be honest here...who can complain about a clean kitchen? I have never sought medical treatment for the OCD specifically. For a time, one of the medications I was on for the disorder itself was said to help calm the OCD, but I never noticed a difference. It's become a demon that sometimes chews on my toes, and sometimes snuggles them.
So much of mental disorders of any kind is trying to find the magic formula. It's trying to find a way to live your life where you figure out how to weave your issues into your world to make them manageable with one another. There are some people that never obtain this balance. They rely heavily on medications and therapies because they have to. The rest of us are on a constant see-saw trying to make it all work in our world before it destroys our world and all we have built there for ourselves. So what's the secret? It's as individual as our personalities. We have to test it all out. Trials within our world and our lives...what works best with what condition/situation. The hope is that one day, we find the solution. We find the equation that makes it all work. We find people that accept the seven levels of crazy that we have a tenancy to unleash in the process...be it friends, lovers, family, or all of the above. We need a support system for it all, but we need that support system within ourselves as well.
We need to accept ourselves for who we are, and that includes all our crazy. We need to accept that all of this really does make us who we are. We need to accept that we may not be perfect, but damn...we are interesting!
(and no one has more backup shampoo...)
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